Journal of African Cultural Studies

Journal of African Cultural Studies

The Journal of African Cultural Studies calls for panel proposals for the ASAUK2020 conference.

The stream has as its focus African culture, performance arts, visual arts, music, cinema, the role of the media, the relationship between culture and power, popular cultural studies in and from Africa, sociolinguistic topics of cultural interest, and culture and gender. We especially welcome panels and individual presentations that show evidence of understanding life on the ground, and that demonstrate local knowledge and linguistic competence.

We invite papers and panels that engage with topics around the politics and ethics of knowledge production, including papers and panels on all aspects of life linked to African universities such as the located histories of the disciplines, campus societies, campus novels and campus films. We shall continue the conversations started in 2020, and now published in the “Ethical?! Collaboration?!” issue of the journal (2019 issue 3, see https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/cjac20/31/3?nav=tocList).

Fakery in African Spaces
Convenor: Patricia Kingori (The Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities and the Ethox Centre, University of Oxford)

In recent years there has been mounting concern expressed in public and scholarly domains about fakes in African spaces. From drugs and medicines, art, food and publications, there are few areas of everyday life that has not been clouded in suspicion about their authenticity.  This panel seeks to have a critical engagement with such concerns and wishes to explore what can be learnt from a close examination of what is considered fake and those who make accusations of fakery in African spaces.  It wishes to promote interdisciplinary discussions (e.g. anthropologists, historians, sociologists, geographers, literary studies scholars) on the subject of the geography of authenticity and fakery, the role of experts and technology in fakes/real distinctions and the new possibilities and opportunities presented by questioning authenticity.

Street Cultures in Africa
Convenors: Oladele Ayorinde (Wits) and David Kerr (University of Birmingham)

Throughout Africa the street provides an important site for social life, cultural creativity and civic citizenship. Asef Bayat has argued, the street is the public space “par excellence” for those excluded from the institutions of public life in which people can “assemble, make friends, earn a living, spend their leisure time, and express discontent” (Bayat 2013, 52). Experience of and access to the street is influenced by race, gender and class.The street is a site of imaginative practice and of social becoming which simultaneously acts as a site of exclusion, danger and discrimination. It’s on the street that the ‘pavement radio’ with its ‘hidden transcripts’ of gossip and rumour circulate, as well as frequently providing the stage upon which political power is performed. This panel welcomes papers that bring these dual dynamics into conversation and explore the street as affective, performative and cultural space in novel and nuanced ways. We encourage papers which examine these contrasting dynamics and explore the material, imaginative and discursive life of the street. We wish to ask primarily what is enabled by and excluded from African street cultures as sites of sociality, imagination and expression. Papers that examine the ways in which cultural production, social relationships and media representation challenge our understanding of the ‘street’ as a geographically bounded entity are particularly welcome.This panel is interested in the dynamic range of everyday performative practices including hawking, football, protest, political rallies, evangelism, music, poetry, street-parties, meetings, newspaper stands, street-fighting, festivals, gossip, rumour and everyday discourse. We welcome papers which examine the dialogical relationship between the physical space of the street, the forms of sociality it produces and types of cultural production it engenders as well as how these shape our conception of the street.

Knowledge in the Making: Creativity, Culture and Practice
Convenors: Robert Fokkens (Cardiff) and David Kerr (University of Birmingham)

Many scholars of African culture, whether literature, visual arts, music, dance or cinema, also work as practitioners in processes of cultural production. This panel seek to explore the intersection between the study and making of cultural objects. It explores what knowledge is produced through direct involvement in cultural production and takes cultural objects seriously as forms of knowledge themselves. We welcome papers which explore questions of what constitutes knowledge; the ethics of cultural and knowledge production and the place of culture in the academy. This panel encourages papers from practitioners, scholars and those of who do a mixture of both.

Academia and Sustainability
Convenor: Toby Green (King’s College London)

Internationalisation has become a fundamental element of global academia in the 21st century. However its aims often sit uncomfortably with pressing issues of climate justice and broader North-South inequalities; many of the international links fostered by this agenda aim at bolstering north-north dialogue, and the carbon footprint of Northern academics grows exponentially as the impacts of climate change are felt most acutely in the South.

In this situation, the role of the academic is open for debate. This is a panel in which nothing is ruled in or out, and where everything is up for discussion. It no longer seems ethical or feasible to continue as if it is “business as usual”, and yet the barriers to meaningful change are very high.

Questions which will be addressed may include:-

  • How can those working in African Studies seek to develop more balance in their work in ecological as well as socio-political terms?
  • Are there any guidelines that can be instituted for inclusive ecological academic practice, and what technological solutions may help here?
  • How can the urgent need for global inclusion be balanced with the climate emergency?
  • How can the impulse towards nativism in the West be dissociated from steps towards addressing this question?

 

This stream is open for panel and paper proposals.

Organiser: Carli Coetzee (Cc76@soas.ac.uk) or (jacs@soas.ac.uk)